Cyberspace is the name given to the computer-generated world of the internet,
and cyber laws are the regulations that apply there. Due to the fact that this
space has a form of universal jurisdiction, all users are governed by these
regulations. Cyber law is another area of law that deals with legal problems
brought on by the usage of networked information technology. People all across
the world have been going through difficult times because of the pandemic.
The lack of healthcare services, the dissatisfaction and isolation that came
with lockdowns, the loss of jobs and business income, and the loss of loved ones
to this deadly sickness were just a few of the difficulties that people had to
deal with. Numerous lives have been lost and millions of people have been
affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has proven to be a catastrophe. In
addition to the millions of deaths caused by the pandemic, it has also been a
difficult time for many people who have lost their jobs or had to shut down
their businesses because of lockdown, for families who have lost the only wage
earner, for kids who have lost both parents at a young age, and for many others.
This is not the case, though! Another catastrophe, namely cybercrime and mobile
crime, spread like a virus while people resisted and fought the pandemic.
Several people expressed their annoyance with the lockdown by abusing the
internet and phone technologies and tormenting others, while many used these
means to keep themselves distracted and occupied throughout the outbreak. During
the outbreak, internet-based cybercrime grew rapidly and intensively.
Meaning of Cybercrime
Information Technology Act of 2000 or any other law in India does not mention
cybercrime. A crime or offense has been precisely defined by a list of specific
offenses and the penalties that go along with them under the Indian Penal Code,
1860, and a number of other statutes. As a result, cybercrime may be described
as a synthesis of technology and crime. Cybercrimes are simply, "any offense or
crime that involves the use of a computer."
Cybercrime is the term used to describe crimes carried out online in which the
perpetrator remains anonymous behind a computer screen and is not necessarily
required to make eye contact with the victim. In a cyber-crime, the computer or
the data is the intended victim, the crime's intended outcome, or a tool used to
facilitate the commission of another crime by providing the required inputs. The
term "cybercrime" broadly refers to all of these offenses.
The following are included in cyber law:
- Cyber Criminals
- Electronic And Digital Signatures
- Protection Of Private And Personal Information
- Intellectual Property
Women and children were the most vulnerable parts of society during the
pandemic, making them simple targets for cybercriminals whereas men and adults
were victims of several cybercrime scams. Women were exposed to these crimes
during the pandemic, in particular housewives and those who use social media.
The data from the 2021 National Commission for Women show that after a lockdown,
the number of cybercrime incidents against women decreases. When India was badly
affected by the second batch of COVID-19 and almost the entire country was
subjected to rigorous lockdown restrictions in April and May of 2021, the
frequency of cybercrimes against women increased drastically in March and
continued to rise.
Finally, after the second pandemic wave passed and the lockdown restrictions
were released in June, the frequency of cyber-attack occurrences started to
diminish as well. This scenario lasted till July as the lockdown restrictions
were lifted. In earlier years, there were very few female victims of cybercrime,
but during the pandemic and lockdown, this figure significantly increased.
Women as the Victim of Cybercrimes
During the pandemic and lockdown, people were compelled to use the internet for
social, professional, recreational, and educational purposes. Through the use of
laptops, smartphones, and the internet, working women started working from home.
Women who are still in school are compelled to use the internet for online
coursework and other academic pursuits.
The rate of cybercrime against women started to increase at this time since the
majority of women were using social media sites and one or more online platforms
for academic, professional, and entertainment purposes. Criminals started
mentally and emotionally tormenting the victim because they could not physically
harm them because the entire country was on lockdown.
Women are most commonly exposed to the following Cyber Crimes:
The most common cybercrime performed against women during the pandemic was
sextortion. By using their victims' private photos or altered images as
blackmail, the offenders started demanding money or sexual favors from them.
In order to express their aggravation about the epidemic, the offenders
threatened women and asked for sexual videoconferencing or letters from
them. Additionally, as they had no money, they felt empowered to threaten
victims with their altered images in order to get money from them.
To make money during the lockdown, criminals send fake e-mails with a link
to a particular webpage in an effort to coerce the victim into entering
personal information like contact details and passwords or with the purpose
of infecting the victim's device with dangerous viruses as soon as the link
is clicked. These texts and emails appear to be authentic. The attackers
then carry out shady transactions from the victim's bank account to their
own using the victim's bank account and other private information.
During the pandemic, offenders indulged in online sexual attacks against
women, altering the victim's image and using it in pornographic material.
- Cyber stalking:
It included, among other things, contacting or trying to engage the victim
via social media sites or phone conversations despite her obvious lack of
interest, posting messages on the victim's page (often threatening in
nature), and persistently bothering the victim with emails and phone calls.
- Cyber hacking:
During the pandemic, people started reading the news online. There are more
examples of false news and information now than ever before. After clicking
on malicious URLs, the women were the victims of cyber hacking. The malware
downloaded all of their personal information to their phones, turned on the
microphone and camera, and took their intimate photos and videos. Then,
criminals use these bits of information and pictures to carry out extortion
and other offenses.
This includes, sending rape and death threats to the victim and posting
false, misleading, and abusive statements about the victims on social media
sites, and demanding money to have them removed. It also includes leaving
hurtful comments on the victim's posts. A computer, cell phone, or laptop
are examples of digital or communication technology that are used for
harassment and bullying.
- Cybersex trafficking:
It is different from physical sex trafficking in that the victim does not
physically engage with the perpetrator. Cybersex trafficking is when a
dealer broadcasts, records, or takes pictures of the victim engaging in
sexual or intimate activities from a central location and then sells the
content online to sexual predators and clients. The criminals have forced,
manipulated, and blackmailed women into participating in cybersex
trafficking, which constitutes sexual abuse of women.
Legal provisions regarding Cybercrime
Although a comprehensive regulatory framework for laws governing the cyber
realm, including such actions, has not yet been developed, some legal remedies
under different statutes can help victims of cyber violence.
The Indian Penal Code 1860 Before 2013, there was no law that dealt directly with cyberbullying or
crimes committed against women online. Sections 354A to 354D are added to
the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as a result of Section 354A of the 2013 Criminal
- Section 354A:
According to Section 354A, a male who engages in any of the
following acts-demanding or pleading for sexual favors; showing pornography
against a woman's will; or making sexual remarks-commits sexual harassment and
may be punished with rigorous imprisonment for up to three years, a fine, or
both. In the first two cases, there is a possibility of up to one year in
imprisonment, a fine, or both.
- Section 354C:
Voyeurism is defined in Section 354C as the act of taking a
photograph of a woman engaging in a private act and/or publishing it without the
lady's permission. The circumstances must be such that the woman would "usually
expect not to be seen, either by the offender or by anyone else acting at the
perpetrator's direction" for it to qualify as "voyeurism." If found guilty under
this section, the offender may be fined and sentenced to up to three years in
prison on the first conviction and seven years on subsequent conviction.
- Section 354D:
The addition of Section 354D states about stalking prohibition
that covers online stalking. The act of stalking is defined as when a man
pursues or approaches a woman despite the woman's obvious disinterest in the
interaction, or when a guy observes a woman's online behavior, use of the
Internet, or electronic communication. If found guilty of stalking, a man might
spend up to three years in jail and a fine, and subsequent convictions could
land him in prison for up to five years and a fine.
In addition to the specific changes to the Code, there are a number of other
provisions that provide for the reporting of cyber-attacks and the prosecution
of those who are responsible.
These consist of the following:
- Section 499:
To slander is to do something with the intent to harm someone's
reputation. Defamation through the publication of an instant and unambiguous
portrayal of imputation is punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine, or
both when done with the intent to harm a woman's reputation.
- Section 503:
Criminal intimidation occurs when a person is threatened with reputational injury in an effort to make her panic or force her to do what she
ordinarily does or does not do. This rule can be applied to situations where
someone is cyber-blackmailed, as was done in the aforementioned scenario.
- Section 507:
This section specifies the maximum punishment for criminal
intimidation done by a person the victim does not know. This clause sanctions
any anonymous communication that violates Section 503's prohibition on criminal
- Section 509:
Anyone who speaks, gestures, shows an object, or makes a sound
with the intent that it be heard or seen by a female and offends her modesty or
invades her privacy may be charged with violating this section and punished with
up to three years of imprisonment and a fine. This provision may impose
penalties for instances of sexually explicit images and content that are
forcibly distributed online, as well as for remarks or comments made in a
The Information Technology Act 2000
- Section 66C:
Identity theft is a crime that is punishable under Section 66C of
the IT Act. This provision would be applicable to scenarios of cyber hacking.
According to this clause, whoever falsely or dishonestly uses another person's
electronic signature, password, or other distinctive identifying feature risks
up to three years in prison and a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh.
- Section 66E:
If someone's right to privacy is breached, Section 66E addresses
that issue. A person can face up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine for
taking, sharing, or sending a picture of their private area without their
consent or in a way that violates their privacy.
- Section 67:
Obscene content must not be published, transmitted, or made to be
distributed under Section 67, which carries a maximum sentence of three years
imprisonment or a fine for a first conviction and up to 5 years imprisonment and
a fine for the second.
- Section 67A:
Publishing, transmitting, or aiding in the transfer of sexually
explicit material is a misdemeanor under Section 67A, punishable by up to five
years in prison and a fine for a first conviction and up to seven years of
imprisonment and a fine for the subsequent conviction.
Indecent Representation of Women Bill 2012Obscene depictions of women in publications, advertising, and other media are
prohibited by this Bill. With the passage of this bill, the legal framework will
be expanded to cover electronic and audiovisual media, as well as the
distribution of information online and the representation of women on the
internet. But as of July 2021, this Bill has been withdrawn.
Suggestions For Preventing Cybercrime:
- Watch out for pointless or fraudulent phone or email messages.
- Emails that request personal information should not be replied to.
- Watch out for fraudulent websites that try to obtain your personal
- Pay special attention to the privacy policies that are included with the
software and posted on websites.
- Make sure your email address is secure.
- Put Secure Passwords to use.
- A victim of cybercrime should notify the local cyber cell or a police
- A complaint can also be submitted anonymously through the National
Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
In conclusion, while a crime-free society is unachievable and simply a pipe
dream, there should nonetheless be a constant endeavor to implement laws that
keep criminality to a minimum. Legislators must go above and beyond to ward off
impostors because criminality related to electronic law-breaking is bound to
rise, especially in a world that depends more and more on technology. Technology
is usually a two-edged sword that can be used for good as well as for bad
A number of laws have been passed by the legal system to address cybercrime
against women. In order to ensure that technology advances in a healthy way and
is used for legal and ethical economic growth rather than illegal activities,
rulers and legislators should work continuously to achieve this.